AV Dikshit, Technical Director, Aquarius Engineers
Having produced equipments for major projects like the Delhi Metro Rail Project, Mumbai Pune Expressway, Aquarius Engineers have become one of the reliable names in the concrete equipment manufacturing industry. AV Dikshit, Technical Director, talks to ICR about the current market scenario, the products manufactured by the company and their future plans.
What is the current market share of the company in the equipment manufacturing industry? Do you envisage increasing it and what are the strategies for the same
We enjoy 15-20 per cent market share, based on the products manufactured. We would definitely like to envisage increasing our market share. As far as strategies are concerned, we participating in the exhibitions so that our products get featured and we get more and more exposure. Hence we will also be participating in the upcoming bCIndia.
What are your views on the current scenario of the concrete equipment manufacturing industry?
There has been a slowdown in sales due to lack of decisions at government level. The first two quarters of this financial year have been sluggish. Compared to last year, the Q1 and Q2 results dropped by 20 per cent this year. However, there are a few signs of recovery this month. Export market is also showing a good growth for us. We are finding better growth in B and C class cities as against major deficits in A class cities.
What is the company's annual production capacity?
Our manufacturing plant in Pune, has a capacity of 150 batching plants and the one in Goa can produce over 600 pumps annually. These are the only two plants we have.
What is the USP of your products?
We manufacture products having global technology, suited to Indian conditions. The major USP has been our innovative capability to bring out new products catering to varied customer requirements. We are proud of our service network and spare parts support provided across the country. We offer a total turnkey solution to our customers after understanding their applications.
Could you highlight a few of your ongoing projects?
We have recently supplied equipment to mega factories and are planning to produce Hollow Core Slabs for mass housing projects, since we have got two or three orders. One or two plants have already gone to hollow core slabs. Proper handling is required for Hollow Core Slabs since they are prefabricated or made in the factory and then assembled on site. Restrictions are imposed when it comes to the creation of slumps created. And we provide those services.
Also elaborate on the various quality and safety features adopted by the company in the manufacturing of your product?
We are an ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certified organisation. Our products are also CE and SONCAP certified.
Have you launched any new product of late?
We plan to launch our new product range in the upcoming bCIndia exhibition in Mumbai. We wouldn't like to get into details about those products but would say that those equipment are customised suiting the international needs. However last year in November 2011, in Bengaluru we launched three products. One was 20 m boom pump, 21 cu m batching plant and SP 30 stationary plant.
What are the major clients that the company handles?
We cater to the requirements of most of the infrastructure companies, housing segment, RMC segment, hirers, etc.
Could you tell us about sales and network distribution of the company across the country?
Our sales and service network is well spread across the country. We have our regional offices at Delhi, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Patna, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, Indore, Nagpur, Raipur, Mangalore, Vijaywada, Mumbai, Bhubaneshwar apart from Pune and Goa.
What are your future plans? Any plans for expansion?
We have recently completed major expansion at our factories. The capacity of the plant is raised to 600 from 350 pumps. And for the plant we can produce 150 batching plants, but we produce only 100. We have no immediate plans for further expansion in the current economic situation.
To which countries do you export your equipment?
We export pumps to Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka and the batching plants are exported to the African countries like Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya etc.
Do you customise your equipment to suit the international needs and how different are they as compared to the domestic ones?
As of now we do not. India is 10 years ahead in terms of awareness as compared to the countries we export our products to. Like in India we know what kind of concrete to be used and the operators know what kind of concrete is pumpable and what is not. The concrete equipments or the batching plants are complex in operations and can handle the complex functions very well, but the Africans are very apprehensive using complex operations.Thus, in the forth coming exhibition we are planning to launch products which adheres to their needs and will be simpler in operations.
How do you see the over all growth of the concrete equipment industry?
The entire industry has faced a slump in the first two quarters and has just starting gaining momentum. However till the situation changes nothing can be said since we lack on infrastructure. Post this bad patch the industry will grow at the pace of 20-25 per cent per year. Probably post elections, the time of 2014-16 will be our time.
What support do you think is required by the industry from government at the policy level?
First of all alot of projects have been pending since the clearances are not in place. Various policies have been announced at the budget, but the implementation is very slow. Also, there is no standardisation on quality and quantity of concrete that is to be used. No proper guidelines have been given on what kind of buildings are to be made, areas to be inspected. Everything is so haphazard. Polices are involved only during the commencement of the construction of the building and post completion. What happens during the construction is nobody's business.
Lastly it is said that the entry of foreign players in the Indian market has boosted the demand of the equipment. Your take on it.
Demand does not increase due to the entry of foreign players. It's the other way round. Nevertheless, due to entry of foreign players, we have big names from the countries like Japan, Korea. But these players have been attracted due to higher demands in the Indian market.